Doctors warn people that viruses can be contracted through cash - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Doctors warn people that viruses can be contracted through cash

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
CENTRAL TEXAS (KXXV) -

Everyone likes cash, but when it changes hands, you could be handing over more than just your hard-earned money.

Doctors said the cash and coins in your wallet could possibly make you sick.

Since cash is transferred so often, it’s one of many items that can collect germs and possibly spread those germs to other areas.

Studies show pathogens have been able to live on money for hours and sometimes days if no disinfection is performed. This has been shown to potentially be the source of contamination in food processing.

Therefore, people working in the food industry who handle money and don’t practice good hand washing skills could be transferring bacteria to you through your food.

Dr. Dawn Sears from Baylor Scott & White said people would be surprised at the many germs and viruses that can be caught or spread through money.

"Looking at those drive -ins where you stop at one window to give the money and a different window to get your food, that is very deliberate and intentional to try to prevent more of this transmission that goes on. Anything from influenza to e-coli to streptococcus, Canada-Albanians, all of those have been documented to be spread through money,” Sears said.

Sears also said paper money and coins have been shown to carry bacteria, viruses, fungus and protozoa which is another form of fungus that can enable food borne pathogens. And, for some bills, it’s highly likely for them to carry more bacteria than others.

"The higher the content of cotton which 75 percent of our money has cotton in it, the more bacteria we're going to find on it. And the more that money is being transmitted, so a dollar bill is going to have a lot more bacteria than a hundred-dollar bill,” Sears said.

To limit the spread of those germs, make sure to practice good hand washing skills when handling money. And if you encounter wet or damp cash, let it dry before putting it in your wallet so it does not spread those germs to your other cash.

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